Spatial Data Science

3 Open Datasets to hone your Spatial Data Science skills

with examples of real-world applications

Parvathy Krishnan
5 min readAug 13, 2021
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Data-driven and Data-informed decision-making is now an integral part of private and public sector organizations. Unlocking the power of spatial data using specialized tools and techniques adds an additional level of insight and can create a significant impact on this decision-making process across sectors.

In this blog, I would like to introduce three datasets that I have worked with and believe to be great resources to elevate your Spatial Data Science skills to the next level.

High-Resolution Population Density Maps

available for nearly every country in the world at 30-meter resolution released by Facebook Data for Good

Insights on human population distribution, demographics, and dynamics form the basis of many impactful initiatives and can support data-driven development, disaster response, healthcare optimizations, resource utilization, and many more sectors. Many mapping projects (example — WorldPop initiated in 2013) have been successful in creating such population estimates as accurate as 100-meter resolution.

Facebook Data for Good in partnership with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESEN) at Columbia University has combined the power of traditional census data and machine vision AI application to satellite imagery to create Population Density Maps available at 30-meter resolution. Along with population counts, the dataset also includes insights on gender and age distributions.

The dataset is available for download in GeoTIFF and CSV formats from The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) as single-country zip files ideal for exploring and analyzing in GIS software. It is also hosted in Amazon Web Services where it…



Parvathy Krishnan

Lead Data Scientist | CTO at Analytics for a Better World | Public Sector Consultant